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Splendor in the Grass

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Pink Martini follow the around-the-world-in-a-dozen-songs thrills of Hey Eugene! with Splendor in the Grass, a mellower, simpler set of small pleasures. These are relative terms, however; the group's music is still well-traveled, with China Forbes singing in five languages English, Spanish, Neapolitan, French, and Italian instead of the six or so on Eugene!. However, Pink Martini opt for a more unified sound here, one that draws on the more straightforward lounge-pop of their debut, Sympathique, and the mellowness of '60s and '70s pop. Splendor in the Grass' first half is especially smooth, opening with the beautifully soft Neapolitan ballad "Ninna Nanna" and the title ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Pink Martini follow the around-the-world-in-a-dozen-songs thrills of Hey Eugene! with Splendor in the Grass, a mellower, simpler set of small pleasures. These are relative terms, however; the group's music is still well-traveled, with China Forbes singing in five languages English, Spanish, Neapolitan, French, and Italian instead of the six or so on Eugene!. However, Pink Martini opt for a more unified sound here, one that draws on the more straightforward lounge-pop of their debut, Sympathique, and the mellowness of '60s and '70s pop. Splendor in the Grass' first half is especially smooth, opening with the beautifully soft Neapolitan ballad "Ninna Nanna" and the title track, on which Forbes sings "I think we should take it slow" over swooping strings, brass, and piano that resurrect the glory days of AM pop; that feeling is echoed by the cover of Joe Raposo's "Sing," the Sesame Street song that gained popularity when the Carpenters performed it Emilio Delgado, aka Sesame Street's Luis, duets with Forbes here in Spanish and English. The album's first few tracks are among its most playful, including the slinky yet winking "Ohayoo Ohio" and the French confection "Ou Est Ma Tete?" While Pink Martini gets almost too cute for their own good with "And Then You're Gone" and "But Now I'm Back," a pair of songs about a quarreling couple inspired by Franz Schubert's "Fantasy Piano for Four Hands" and featuring NPR justice correspondent Ari Shapiro on the latter's vocals, Splendor in the Grass' second half is among their finest work. "Over the Valley" is a standout, a ballad so timelessly sweet that it seems like it must be a long-lost standard the group just blew the dust off of, but it's an original; conversely, the covers of Moondog's haunting "New Amsterdam" and Agustín Lara's "Piensa en Mi," sung by Chavela Vargas, sound fresh and authentic, providing the drama Hang on Little Tomato and Hey Eugene! provided in spades. Though it's a lower-key set of songs than those two albums, Splendor in the Grass is charming in its own right.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/27/2009
  • Label: Heinz Records
  • UPC: 723721448059
  • Catalog Number: 6
  • Sales rank: 13,087

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ninna Nanna (4:42)
  2. 2 Ohayoo Ohio (Hello Ohio) (4:47)
  3. 3 Splendor in the Grass (3:40)
  4. 4 Où Est Ma Tête? (4:12)
  5. 5 And Then You're Gone (2:43)
  6. 6 But Now I'm Back (3:00)
  7. 7 Sunday Table (4:31)
  8. 8 Over the Valley (4:40)
  9. 9 Tuca Tuca (2:50)
  10. 10 Bitty Boppy Betty (2:43)
  11. 11 Sing (4:10)
  12. 12 Piensa en Mi (4:00)
  13. 13 New Amsterdam (4:51)
  14. 14 Ninna nanna (3:18)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Pink Martini Primary Artist
Karen Brooks Toy Piano
Chavela Vargas Vocals, Guest Appearance
Phil Baker Acoustic Guitar, Sitar, Upright Bass
John Bartley Choir, Chorus
Neil Anderson Choir, Chorus
China Forbes Vocals
Joël Belgique Viola
Emilio Delgado Vocals, Guest Appearance
Dan Faehnle Guitar
Gavin Bondy Trumpet, Cornet, Alto Horn, Background Vocals, Choir, Chorus, Piccolo Trumpet
Thomas Lauderdale Piano
Martin Zarzar Percussion, Drums, Maracas, Timbales, Background Vocals, Snare Drums, Shaker
Brian Davis Percussion, Conga, Washboard, Vibraslap
Ben Landsverk Group
Heather Blackburn Cello
Julie Coleman Violin
Paloma Griffin Violin
Timothy Jensen Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Maureen Love Harp
Timothy Nishimoto Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocals, Choir, Chorus, Claves, Guiro
Charles Noble Viola
Derek Rieth Percussion, Bongos, Conga, Tambourine, Triangle, Timpani, Guiro
Courtney Taylor-Taylor Guest Appearance
Daniel Dempsey Choir, Chorus
Nicholas Crosa Violin
Gregory Ewer Violin
Joy Fabos Violin
Christopher Benjamin Choir, Chorus
Pansy Chang Cello
Jennifer Arnold Viola
Technical Credits
Hugo Alfvén Contributor
Agustín Lara Composer
Dave Friedlander Engineer
Bernie Grundman Mastering
Franco Pisano Composer
Joe Raposo Composer
Gianni Boncompagni Composer
China Forbes Composer
Salvador Tercero Vocal Engineer
Dan Faehnle Composer
María Teresa Lara Composer
Alba Clemente Composer
Gavin Bondy Brass Arrangment, Saxophone Arrangement
Thomas Lauderdale Producer
Martin Zarzar Brass Arrangment
Joe Bozzi Mastering
João Canziani Cover Photo
Doree Jarboe Direction
Timothy Jensen Brass Arrangment, Saxophone Arrangement
Derek Rieth Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Rediscovering Their Best

    What a marvel Pink Martini is. What a variety of elevated songwriting, instruments, pace, musical layering, language, voices, verve. This CD is a huge group hug to musical possibility, to the tip of the creative iceberg that beckons one to slide the rest of a long, glorious way down.

    Here Pink Martini gets back into the overall album style that marked their 1st and best CD oh so many years ago - a variety of voices, a thorough treatment of musical styles, a defined yearning and some wonderful instrumentals. How they combine the sounds from a 13-member crew with guest artists is one of the best things going on in music anywhere the world. The singing throughout is both warm and powerful.

    Also incredible is how they mix remakes of superb songs from The Carpenters, Franz Schubert, etc. with their own creations and continue the same level of quality. Pink Martini pulls it off without the blink of one of China Forbes's lovely eyes, without a missed note from Thomas Lauderdale's flowing piano work.

    What the music begs for is a little more depth and variety of emotion - and flair. They get it right with songs like "And Then You're Gone", but it's suspiciously missing in other pieces, like in the instrument solos in the middle of "But Now I'm Back". This amazing music should have not one ounce of blasé. Songs like Angelique Kidjo's "Mutoto Kwanza" show the heights to which Pink Martini could reach. They are only a few of steps from the summit.

    I am one music lover who is so grateful that these guys headquarter themselves in Portland, OR. We have the country's biggest bookstore (Powell's), the country's biggest city part (Forest Park), the best public transportation...the list goes on and on. We also have the best music, live or recorded. It doesn't get more splendid than Pink Martini.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Love it !!!!

    Love it, love it, love it !!!!!! What else needs to be said ????

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    another excellent record from Pink Martini!

    This is wonderful record. I loved the Charlie Brown... but specially the Concerto # 1 so well and smoothly integrated in the middle of song 3!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Pink Martini always Splendid

    You can't go wrong with Pink Martini. Fun and gratifying music. Tends to be more popular in foreign countries, though that speaks more to America's limited "music" tastes/judgment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews